Hong Kong Disneyland shark fin soup controversy

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  • #6893

    After around a month of wrangling, Disney has at last agreed not to offer shark fin soup at Hong Kong Disneyland. (news on 25 June 2005. I’m keeping this thread, partly as may be of interest as record of the arguments against serving shark fin soup (Disney mustered only feeble arguments in favour); there is plenty of info relevant to broader campaign, aiming to get shark fin soup off menus everywhere.

    Here are two emails I’ve received, which have been sent to Disney executives including Michael Eisner re reported plans to include shark’s fin soup on banquet menu.

    Quote:
    Dear Mr Eisner, I was more than a little upset to find reported (http://www.thestandard.com.hk/stdn/std/Metro/GE18Ak03.html) that it is planned to serve shark fin soup at banquets in the Hong Kong Disneyland. Could I say that I think this is a mistake of the highest order, no matter that such soup is perceived as prestigious by some consumers, from whom you simply wish to make money, I suppose. Shame on you. Frankly, I find it surprising that you should be unaware of the issue, it having received wide publicity over many years.

    On the other hand, I am frequently astounded by people’s resistance to doing the right thing – as you can tell from correspondence documented here: http://www.scdc.org.hk/hongkong/sharkfin.html – and links contained therein, although we have had some notable success in reversing such bad decisions, as you will see. I would be delighted it if we can add your change of heart to that page. Otherwise, we can only encourage everyone to boycott Disney globally, pointing out crass and cynical profiteering. What makes it far worse, of course, is the fact that Disney makes a big point of espousing conservation and environmental awareness and protection. Certainly, from http://corporate.disney.go.com/environmentality/index.html we read that ‘As Jiminy says, "Every little bit makes a big difference," reminding each person that we all play a critical role in promoting Environmentality. ‘

    And your policy ( http://corporate.disney.go.com/environmentality/environmental_policy.html ) says, inter alia: Laws and Regulations Make every effort to understand and adhere to, not only the spirit, but the letter of environmental laws and regulations. Work to identify issues that may not yet be identified in the law, but could result in adverse environmental effects. Strive to exceed required levels of compliance wherever feasible. – which all suggests that your public heart is in the right place.

    Oddly enough, the "Environmentality" link for http://disney.go.com/disneyhand/environmentality/index.html on the side bar on http://disney.go.com/disneyhand/environmentality/dwcf_organizations.html is broken – perhaps reflective of the company’s attitude internally? There is no doubt, as judged by global scientific consensus, that sharks are in trouble. You are, quite overtly and directly contributing to their demise. I will not rehearse the voluminous evidence, the harrowing effects, and the ghastly future prospects, but should you need I will be happy to provide this material. No doubt others will be doing this anyway.

    Could I suggest a more positive approach? Admit that it was an error, remove shark fin soup from all menus, advertise the fact – and why. Turn it to educational and PR advantage. Or would you rather be seen to be trying to profit shamelessly in a classic example of internal contradiction? After all, if MasterCard and Cathay Pacific can do it, so can you. I look forward to hearing from you soon, and a prompt change in the menu in HK – and elsewhere in the world if other sites serve shark fin at present. Many thanks, BWD Prof. Brian W. Darvell Reader in Dental Materials Science, The University of Hong Kong

    Quote:
    To: Mr. Michael Eisner, Chief Executive Officer, Disney World, Hong Kong. Dear Mr Eisner, Earthcare and her members were surprised at your recent promotion of the expensive banquets and the menu that would cause adverse consequences to the already depleting ocean resources. Earthcare and international groups have been working hard to stop the wasteful and cruel practices of live sharks finning for years.

    Nowadays, advanced corporations put "Corporate Social Reponsibility" and "Ethical issues" high up on their agenda. Recent reports of local newspaper about your plans to serve shark fin soup at banquets in the Hong Kong Disneyland are not socially responsible/ethical acts. As part of your proposed plan is to attract both local and Mainland Chinese customers, no doubt, it is of utmost importance that you do not give the wrong message to some Mainland Chinese people who may not be alerted to the shark fin issue.

    As the shark fin issue had received wide publicity over many years, we hope that Disney would not just pay lip service to the principles of conservation and environmental awareness and protection. In fact, this is the best opportunity to tell the world and people from both Hong Kong and Mainland China that sharks and ocean resources are in plight. I look forward to hearing from you soon for a positive remedial action about the issue.

    Yours sincerely, NG Wai Yee Director Earthcare

    Post edited by: martin, at: 2005/06/25 15:55

    #7712

    SCM Post this morning reports that Disney is defiant over shark’s fin soup issue; spokeswoman quoted as saying:

    Quote:
    Hong Kong Disneyland takes environmental stewardship very seriously and we are equally sensitive to the local cultures. It is customary for Chinese restaurants and five-star hotels to serve shark’s fin soup in Hong Kong, as the dish is considered an integral part of Chinese banquets. At Hong Kong Disneyland, shark’s fin soup will only be served to our guests at private functions on special request.

    So, how does taking environmental stewardship very seriously square with serving a soup made from the fins of threatened species (many sharks are in decline) – which are cut from the living animals, which are tossed back into the water to die horrible deaths? (A friend who’s a wildlife cameraman told me of diving in Galapagos, and seeing two sharks that had just had fins cut off swimming in circles round bottom of a bay; with no fins, they can’t control movement, so will die.) Instead of sensitivity, smacks of callous corporate greed. Yes, many restaurants do serve this soup in HK – I believe they’re very wrong too. But from company espousing family friendly image, making films including Shark Tale, and involved in Finding Nemo, shouldn’t we expect something better – some corporate courage, perhaps? For more re shark’s fin soup and conservation, see The Great Shark Fin Debate from South China Diving Club, and WildAid’s Shark Campaign.

    #7713

    Dear Mr. Robinson,

    It has come to my attention that the Disneyland Hong Kong is offering shark fin as part of its Fary Tale Wedding banquet promotion.

    Your effort to offer shark fin to the local Chinese is certainly understandable, but I would like to query the image you are portraying to patrons visiting your theme park from overseas, and also those westerners residing in Hong Kong SAR and Asia Pacific.

    Please let me respectfully suggest that offering shark fin may actually be counterproductive to the long-term image of Disney – locally, regionally and more importantly internationally. Recent campaigns against MasterCard, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Citibank and Singapore Airlines have all resulted in them retracting any shark fin promotional advertising or consumption offers, with global responsive pressure being an incredible persuasive factor.

    In recent years, the scientific and conservation communities have come to understand that the shark fin trade is a major contributor to an unsustainable decline in many of the world’s shark populations. The explosion of the Asian shark fin trade, particularly in countries with Chinese cultures, is promoting a worldwide gold rush to cash in on the high price for shark fins.

    Unfortunately, the result is quite clear: Sharply decreased shark populations, with knock on detrimental effects to entire ecosystems and the livelihoods of fishermen and tour operators worldwide.

    Sharks are unlike most fish, in that there are not too many to begin with (since they are top predators just like people), they reproduce very slowly (tens of years before most sharks are sexually mature and can begin to reproduce), and they have very few offspring (a few each birth cycle at most, unlike other fish which may spawn by the millions).

    As a result, people all over the world have come to realise that the demand for shark fin needs to be brought under control. Moreover, there is no nutritional value in shark fin, and there is also a high incidence of mercury and accumulation of other toxins in shark fin samples. The concern over this issue is growing rapidly and is spread equally among Asian, western and other nations.

    As a global icon to many children and adults, Disney has the opportunity to set an example for other corporations. By selecting shark fin as a means of $$ attraction, you are conveying the message that Disney endorses ecologically unsound practices and unsustainable industries. While this is most probably not the case, it is certainly the understanding that will spread rapidly around the world via email and the internet – under the voice of shark conservation.

    As a potential future visitor to Disneyland Hong Kong, I ask that you revisit this topic, and reconsider alternative, less harmful, ingredients for wedding banquets at Disney; ordinary soup will suffice. I would also ask that you consider responding soon to those already concerned by your wedding banquet display and constructive people from around the world who have attempted to explain the issue and offer you more substantive data to support the statements above.

    On another note I have just finished presenting a talk at David Li Ka Shing HKMA School where 100+ students listened to a compelling lecture and watched a shark finning film; If you would like detailed information or more material to explain to staff & guests the reason for removing shark fin from the wedding menu then please let me know. I assure you my patronage (and many others) will change should Disney act decisively over this sensitive issue.

    Thank you for your attention, and I hope that you will take this correspondence in the constructive manner that it is intended.

    With regards,
    Charles Frew, MSc

    [Don Robinson is HK Disneyland group managing director – Martin]

    Post edited by: Martin, at: 2005/05/24 22:27

    #7714

    Yahoo News item: Shark fin lands Hong Kong’s Disneyland in the soup

    #7715

    forbes . com, Daily Telegraph, BBC News (online), Los Angeles Times among media Google News is finding today with reports on HK Disneyland offering shark’s fin soup.

    #7716
    Anonymous

    I can NOT believe that even Disney (whom I don’t respect anyway) would stoop so low as to put something on their menu that involves catching endangered sharks, slicing off their fins and chucking them back in again to starve to death (they can’t swim or hunt) I live in DB, and Disneyland is being built right across the water from where I live, ruining the view. Disney has built its great “kingdom” on reclaimed land, where endangered pink dlophins are rumoured to hunt. Disney also plans to have fireworks every night, which will be noisy and send all kinds of fumes into the air, no doubt harming a few birds along the way, as they’ll be forced to breathe in polluted air… it is evident that Disney, despite its claims, does not care at all for nature, whether trees, birds, dolphins or sharks. Is Disneyland worth 5 billion dollars if all it does is to destroy HK’s environment? PS. How did I find this website? I have to write an essay for school on some food-related concern, decided on Shark’s Fin Soup, typed “shark fin soup wrong” into Google, and found this site. I am glad I did because now I know just how incredibly cruel and cold-hearted this supposedly fun, friendly company is. DISNEYLAND IS BEING BUILT IN HONG KONG. PEOPLE IN HONG KONG SHOULD HAVE A SAY IN WHAT IT DOES!!! SPEAK OUT, EVERYBODY OUT THERE!!!

    #7717

    Heard today that US Consulate has reportedly phoned someone involved in arguing against HK Disneyland serving shark’s fin soup, asking re next moves. Hmm… black helicopters out next?

    South China Morning Post had article on shark’s fin trade today. In it, defenders of Disney position arguing they are following local culture/tradition – which may seem fine, but traditions/cultures do change as societies change; this is a pitiful argument to put against cruel, wasteful, unnecessary practice that’s impacting shark populations (and marine ecology) – especially when Disney supposedly supports environmental issues.
    Mentioned re host serving shark’s fin for “face”.

    Dr Brian Darvell, of first email quoted in this thread, has received this:

    Quote:
    Dear Dr. Darvell,
    My name is Matthew Smith, from Flint, Michigan. The reason I am sending this Email is that I have recently read about Disney and their irresponsibilty with respect to conservation by proposing to serve shark fin soup in Hong Kong. I, my wife Rana, and a large group of friends and family were planning on a week trip to DisneyWorld in Florida. After explaining about Disney and Eisner’s attitude towards the issue we have changed plans not only to go to another resort, but also encourage other organizations that offer group travel to Disney resorts not to do so. It would be greatly appreciated if you had an address or email that I could contact at Disney to tell them about our concerns and why we have changed our plans and asked for a full refund on our trip. Each and every member of the group will be contacting Disney and any help you can offer would be appreciated.
    Thank You from a fellow supporter,
    Matt Smith

    With google today, came across article from xinhuanet, re sharks’ containing pollutants including mercury:
    Shark fin may cause sterility
    – while doesn’t mention the conservation message, this does seem another reason why shark fin soup might not be the best dish for a wedding banquet.

    Post edited by: Martin, at: 2005/05/28 17:48

    #7718

    HK Standard, which first helped land Disney in the soup, has further reports, including: Disney urged not to serve shark fin soup and: Disney ducks shark attacks Latter mentions:

    Quote:
    Kym Murphy, senior vice president of corporate environmental policy for Disney, sits on the Board of Trustees for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, an American marine protection organization

    – it would be interesting to learn what the foundation thinks of this issue. An email just in:

    Quote:
    Dear Mr Eisner, Since Sylvia Hui’s editorial in The STANDARD on 18 May 2005 – "Disneyland weddings for the young and wealthy..The menus feature traditional Chinese banquet delicacies such as roast suckling pig, shark’s fin soup and sliced abalone", you would have received hundreds of pleas at a global level to remove the gruesome item from the menu. We are disappointed at the response or lack there of to the issue; it is apparent that shortsightedness or plain ignorance from your banquet and PR staff. By promoting and offering shark fins soup, DISNEYLAND is seen as supporting the culling of sharks, eventually causing their extinction in the world’s oceans. Imagine shark fins to be the hand and legs of Mickey Mouse; chop them off and throw the lame struggling body of Mickey on the side walk to die a slow painful death!. That is how sharks are harvested from the world’s oceans. Please consider the following: 1. In the minute it takes you to read this letter almost 200 sharks will have their fins removed while still alive and thrown back into the sea to die. Shark experts estimate that 100 million sharks are slaughtered each year for their fins. 2. Shark fin is tasteless and has no nutritional value – they are cartilage, just like your fingernails and hair. 3. It is Cruel to consume shark fin – it is akin to chopping legs off cow and throwing them back into the field and allowing them to bleed to death. 4. Because of the demand from Asia, fishermen from Galapagos are now pushing for wholesale revisions to the fishing statute by demanding a year-round fishing calendar, use of long-line fishing, a lifting of the prohibition on shark fishing. In this respect, the Asian culture are threatening to destroy one of the most unique and fragile eco-systems remaining on this planet. 5. Sharks reproduce very slowly and we are killing them faster than they can replace themselves. Sharks have slow growth rates and do not reach sexual maturity for years. It takes a whale shark 25 years to reproduce. For hammerheads and Tiger sharks it takes 15 years. Once sexually mature sharks have long gestation periods with the embryo developing in the mother for up to two years. 6. Sharks are vanishing from our world’s oceans very quickly – the demand for shark fin soup in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China is primarily responsible the peril of sharks globally – some 100 million animals are killed every year just for their fins. To conserve sharks and the preserve the species, we must address the issue at the heart of the problem; we must reduce the demand for shark fins in Asia. Since 2001, OceanNENvironment and Asian Geographic have launched the ‘Say No to Shark Fins" Campaign on an annual basis targeting at young couples and children. Instead of supporting conservation, DISNEYLAND HONG KONG is now contributing to the extinction of sharks, promoting cruelty and wastefulness to children and young adults. Since many shark species are protected, DISNEY is therefore seen as encouraging the sale and consumption of endangered species. In this aspect DISNEY is promoting to children and young people a message that cruelty and exploitation of animals is acceptable. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. We respectfully suggest the following actions: Admit the shortsightedness and instead support the conservation of sharks by removing shark fins soup from wedding banquet and replace with other more sustainable delicacies. Since 2002, OceanNEnvironment and Asian Geographic have produced a card/letter package " WHY WE ARE NOT SERVING SHARK FINS SOUP TONIGHT?" for couples to distribute at their wedding dinner – perhaps you may wish to consider this as an option – by doing this DISNEYLAND and prospective wedding couples will be seen as intelligent, eco savvy most importantly contributing to the preservation of our ocean environment. I trust that you will respond expediently. Imagine the next edition of Asian Geographic with Mickey Mouse struggling in agony without his arms and legs on the cover. Get the picture? Michael AW Chairman, OceanNEnvironment Australia Publisher, Asian Geographic : Scuba Diver Australasia: Underwater Channel Publisher Asian Geographic Magazine Scuba Diver Australasia http://www.asiangeographic.org http://www.scubadiveraustralasia.com
    #7719

    FINS magazine ("Asia’s best scuba diving publication") has an online poll: Disneyland Hong Kong announced it will be promoting shark fin soup. Disneyland also claims it promotes wildlife conservation. What do you think?

    #7720

    Wonder what the Disney execs make of all the emails; another here:

    Quote:
    Subject: : Shark Fin Soup at Disneyworld – open letter from
    OceanNEnvironment Australia
    Importance: High

    Attention:
    Mr. Michael Eisner
    Chief Executive Officer, Disney World,

    Dear Mr Eisner,

    That Disney World, Hong Kong has shark fin soup on its wedding banquet
    menu is simply unacceptable. If the devastating facts about the losing
    battle sharks are fighting to stay alive do not convince you to remove
    this senseless item from your menu, then perhaps the fact that you are
    making a mockery out of the Disneyland Company and a hypocrite out of
    Walt himself will.

    When it comes to the environment Disney’s stance has always been clear,
    “from inception, the Walt Disney Company has been dedicated to
    protecting our environment through conservation.” And with $6 million
    from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund going to more than 200
    projects it is undeniable that the company does have an “attitude and
    commitment to think and act with the environment in mind.”

    That is until you decided to put shark fin soup on the menu, endorsing
    this nutrition-less meal and in doing so contributing to the cruel
    slaughter and eventual extinction of sharks. You obviously do not have
    an attitude and commitment to think and act with the environment in mind
    if you would willingly help remove this apex predator from our oceans.
    Who knows what the ramifications on the ecosystem their disappearance
    will have. The Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund may as well put the 21%
    of the money that goes to marine projects somewhere else, because once
    we have slaughtered all the sharks, will the ocean ever be the same?

    And poor old Jiminy Cricket, how could you make such a mockery of him
    and the thousands of children in Hong Kong that take part in Disney’s
    Environmental Challenge. How would these primary school children feel if
    they knew that the very company that honours them as ‘environmental
    heroes’ could not stick to their own pledge to act environmentally in
    the community?

    The only thing you seem dedicated to is perpetuating the cultural value
    of shark fin soup. So this delicacy has been eaten at weddings in Hong
    Kong for years.who cares? Isn’t Disneyland a culture all of its own
    where kids and kids at heart go to escape the real world? Don’t you
    advertise these functions as “Disney’s fairly tale weddings?” If it is a
    fairytale, why do you have to abide by the cultural norms of any
    country?

    If this is not excuse enough to not have it on the menu, instead of
    serving this soup you could give your bride and groom
    OceanNEnvironment’s ‘why we are not serving shark fin soup tonight’
    cards to give out to all their guests. In doing so both you and your
    guests would be acting intelligently with the environment in mind.
    Cultures change, all it takes is the courage and determination of a few
    to take a stand. But perhaps this courage is just not in you.

    Walt Disney himself said, “Conservation.is a science whose principles
    are written in the oldest code in the world, the laws of nature.” How is
    it that you can go against this old code?

    He also said, “the natural resources of our vast continent are not
    inexhaustible,” and he was right, each year more that 100 million sharks
    are slaughtered. This culling is occurring faster than sharks can
    reproduce. They simply can not keep up.

    And on a closing note, “but if we will use our riches wisely, if we will
    protect our wildlife.these things will last us for generations to come.”
    Oh how Walt must be turning in his grave.

    Shame on you.

    Gillian Fagan
    Press Officer
    OceanNEnvironment Australia

    #7721

    Bite-Back is a site on Shark and Marine Conservation;
    has a counter for number of sharks killed this year (based on averages I assume) – stands at 41,753,326 and rising fast as I post this.

    #7722

    from Brian Darvell:

    Quote:
    There are many shark conservation organizations out there. You might like to see http://www.sharktrust.org/ and http://www.sharks.org/news/050518.htm The English Schools Foundation in Hong Kong, through their Enviroment Committee have picked this up. Children will now be debating the apparent attitude of Disney, the role of unsustainable traditions in a changing world, and the conservation of sharks. 

    IUCN Resolution 3.116 refers to the practice of shark finning and recommends means to promote the sustainable management of shark fisheries; encouraging diners to question the sustainability of fin harvest for soup; and to encouraging consumers to make responsible dining choices. The US accepted this resolution.

    The HK Government … has been remarkably quiet. This is not a surprise since it has yet to work out where it stands on such issues. On the one hand, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has a number of roles, including: Nature Conservation and Country Parks Aim The aim is to conserve flora, fauna and natural habitats, including marine habitats; to manage country parks, special areas, marine parks and marine reserves; and to control the international trade in endangered species of animals and plants in Hong Kong. But then, they have "a view to maximising yields" as part of their primary function.

    Curiously, the "Endangered Species Advisory Committee" has as a "Non-official Member", one Mr. CHIU Ching-cheung, who is – Chairman, Sharks Fin Trade Merchants Association – Committee Member, Sharkfin and Marine Products Association Ltd – Proprietor, Kwong Cheung (Shark’s Fin) Does he have specialist knowledge about endangered species? I wonder whether we can expect impartial, unbiased advice from him. Are there no rules about conflict of interest?

    On the other hand, the HK Tourist Board promotes the consumption of shark fin soup at every opportunity, denies that advertising in this way is promotion, and refuses to accept that it is instrumental in contributing to this destructive fishery. http://www.scdc.org.hk/hongkong/sharkfin.html The Funnies http://www.mickeynews.com/News/DisplayPressRelease.asp_Q_id_E_5295Soup A legislator for the catering industry and the president of a restaurant trade group have backed Disney, saying it is being unfairly pilloried and would be a "laughing stock" if it did not offer the dish. Tommy Cheung, the legislator representing Hong Kong’s catering sector, said: "I don’t believe sharks are an endangered species. Some species of shark may be, but not all shark’s fin comes from certain species. There are a lot of species that are plentiful. I am not aware why people are making so much fuss about Disney.

    Many restaurants are serving shark’s fin, so why pick on Disney?" Cheung said it was unreasonable to expect the theme park to offer Chinese banquets without offering the dish. "Chinese tradition is that you put shark’s fin on the table," he said. "If you don’t, you are not respecting the guests you invite. It is a matter of face." David Ng, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said that people holding wedding banquets could be made to seem a "laughing stock" if they did not offer shark’s fin. "This is the traditional culture of Chinese people, and you can’t say it is right or it is wrong," he said. "No Chinese banquet would be complete without shark’s fin soup. It is a dish that dates back maybe hundreds of years. You must treat your guests properly," he said. There are several issues here that require a response.

    So, both Disney and wedding couples would be a "laughing stock" if shark fin was not available? Not only are you to be decried for failing to serve the chicken soup with bits in, you are to be laughed at as being seriously out of touch with the economic and cultural reality of Hong Kong. The logic of this is difficult to follow. The point seems to be that if one professes care for the environment and conservation one is somehow not reasonable or respectful. I was under the impression it was the reverse. One is meant therefore to uphold an iconic dish as showing respect when the icon stands for mutilation, suffering, waste, failure to propagate, conspicuous consumption, profiteering and crime – without even mentioning conservation. If this is the icon for the marriage that is being celebrated, it will be a sad life indeed. Surely, it is showing more respect for one’s guests not to serve endangered species and avoid causing them embarassment? Surely, Disney and wedding parties will be applauded warmly and gain face for standing firm on principles in the face of irrational exhortations to be otherwise.

    A further point is the long-established Chinese respect for and seeking after balance with nature. Is that not the point of Feng Shui, of Yin and Yang and cosmic harmony? Is this to be discarded like the shark’s body for the sake of a few moments of enjoyment of chicken soup and vinegar? Oh, and it is unfair to single out Disney? Of course, how careless of me. The point is that this example was so egregious that it could not be ignored, but that does not mean we do not sicken every time we see these fins displayed or the menu so embellished. Perhaps we should start a collection of names of hotels, restaurants, cruise liners, banks, clubs, philanthropic organizations, schools, Universities, airlines, conferences, trade dinners, parties…

    To me, please, by email, whenever and wherever you find them. If you can do the research and find the principal contacts (email), and any other relevant data, I will collate the information and post it on the SCDC website and circulate it to you all as well. In fact, if you were to write yourself in the first instance, seeking a small menu correction, and report the reponse to me, it would be even better. There, as even-handed as they come. Tommy Cheung’s argument in part rests on his belief about the species that are taken and their abundance. However, mere belief in the face of data is difficult to sustain with a straight face.

    Why let a good story be spoiled by the truth? Mr Cheung, could I suggest that you refer to the many sources of reliable information before making such absurd remarks. Perhaps you ought to talk to Mr Chiu Ching-cheung, who plainly is an authority in such things – after all, the government of Hong Kong relies on him. Mr Cheung does not understand the fuss. Does he not see contradiction in Disney’s apparent stance? Does he not see inconsistency? I can only assume that he has not actually read any of the relevant material, or given thought to what it all means. Sadly, he belittles Chinese intellect by such remarks. "Chinese tradition" in Mr Cheung’s and Mr Ng’s view is driven by the need for restaurants to make a profit. The last part we cannot disagree with, but the premise is faulty. Is it really the case that consideration for restaurateurs’ profits overrides all others? Can he seriously be arguing that something that was acceptable in the past is valid now? Could I therefore suggest that he introduce bills into the Legislative Council for slaves to be employed in restaurant kitchens as they are much cheaper to run; that pigs be permitted to be slaughtered on the pavement outside to ensure that the meat is fresh; and that traditional fertilization of green vegetables be allowed as this will lower costs?

    We look forward to cheaper, fresher, healthier meals. On the other hand, I do not hear much of a clamour for the serving of bear paws, live monkey brains, turtles and other such "delicacies". Do our trade representatives not think that these should be reintroduced on cultural grounds? By the way, I am thinking of reintroducing human sacrifice…

    Basically, there is no evidence in their remarks, presumably meant to shame Disney into being respectful of the trade’s primary drive – profit (and shark fin soup profits are huge!) – of a balanced rational view, respectful of current knowledge, respectful of current attitudes, respectful of learned bodies’ resolutions, respectful of the environment, respectful of the need for conservation, respectful of the idea of a sustainable trade. Please, do not talk to me about respect. [/url]

    #7723

    So far, after only one day, over 400 students have signed a petition against Disney’s decision to serve shark fin soup. In signing the petition they have pledged not to go to Disney Land until they stop serving shark fin. There are [were] some hi res pictures here:

     It has all been organised by the students (of all nationalities). They will be avialable for interviews tomorrow lunchtime, if you are available. Paul

    #7724

    from Brian Darvell:

    Quote:
    Inauguration I think we ought to recognize those organizations that have made a commitment not to serve shark fin soup. So we hereby inaugurate the Shark Fin Hall of Fame http://www.scdc.org.hk/hongkong/sharkfin_fame.html – a small list that we hope will grow steadily.

    Likewise, we have created the Shark Fin Hall of Shame http://www.scdc.org.hk/hongkong/sharkfin_shame.html whose members will no doubt increase with time as well, but who deserve our attention in an attempt to change their ways. Nominations for either are invited, properly documented. Grapevine A friend of a friend in New York reports that Michael Eisner is receiving our emails (despite the bouncing messages), much to his chagrin. So, Mr Eisner, what exactly is the problem? Have you no courage, no moral responsibility to your own environmental PR? Please take the time to read the next item and follow the link. Requiem Just in case you had any doubt about what is happening, read this: [missing, from finns online?] – and notice the inset item: "The Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands in the Pacific Ocean has just adopted a resolution seeking to hunt sharks. The resolution reads in part, “Shark meat and fins are very popular, delicious and expensive food products in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and other areas. (We) could be used as a processing and transshipment station for countries in need of shark meat and fins.”

    In need of? Again, pure profit is the motivation. Just like you, Mr Eisner. Moral high ground A caller on RTHK Radio 3 today claimed that it was hypocrisy to go after Disney and ignore the big hotels that serve the soup. I think it is simply an example that strikes a chord with many people, as has has been shown, and thus serves pour encourager les autres. Worry not, they are not being overlooked, but we have to start somewhere. If one is wrong, they are all wrong. Note that the OED has for hypocrisy: The assuming of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, with dissimulation of real character or inclinations,… Does that not characterize Disney to a T? I cannot see that it applies to us, here. Local view

    A Cantonese correspondent tells me that, a far as he knows, the problem with shark fin soup has become prominent only since the 1980s. Certainly, it has been on menus before that, but only for the seriously rich; ordinary folks simply could not afford it. Now, with both increasing affluence generally in Hong Kong, and falling prices because the "fishery" effort has increased to profit from the market that has been created, it has been accessible to more. Hence the promotion of the soup as an indicator of wealth and prestige, of conspicuous extravagance. However, he is very clear that he cannot accept the claim by Tommy Cheung and Disney PR people that "A Chinese banquet without shark’s fin soup is no banquet." He went on to say that in much of China the attraction of shark fin soup is incomprehensible, but he is concerned that the Cantonese as a whole do not take the blame for a minority problem.

    We need to be careful, therefore, that we do not falsely accuse the majority. Naturally, we would not want to do that. Our focus is simply those consumers that drive the market, the organizations that offer it and thus support the market, and the short-term profit motive of those who would drive species to extinction for immediate cash. The majority can do much to help.

    BWD http://www.scdc.org.hk/hongkong/sharkfin.html

    #7725

    Disney is among backers of a project to try and solve Africa’s bushmeat crisis, which is surely based on local traditions (albeit much now illegal): http://www.bushmeat.org Then, says Disney’s website:

    Quote:
    The Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund helps ensure the survival of wildlife and wild places in all their beauty and diversity.

    Disney is also among sponsors of World Widlife Fund (in US) Windows on the Wild education program;

    Quote:
    In recent years, WOW programs have included: … seminars to help consumers steer clear of harmful wildlife trade;

    Disney is a co-sponsor of Project Shark Awareness at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

    Maybe can expand this project, to Hong Kong? If so, can include info from the scheme, such as:

    Quote:
    In most commercial fisheries shark meat is considered of low value and sharks are often discarded at sea rather than landed at port. Their fins on the other hand are worth quite a lot in the Asian shark fin soup market. This has led a number of fishermen to cut the fins off of the sharks as they come aboard and through their bodies back over board. This way they can land the expensive fins, and save room to land more expensive fish. This practice is very wasteful and often times the sharks are finned and returned to sea while still alive, left to die.

    Post edited by: Martin, at: 2005/06/09 15:06

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